Choosing the domain is one of the first steps we must take to start creating our website. And it is also one of the most important because it will determine the line of our project.
A domain consists of two parts: name and extension. And both sides are important to SEO.
For the moment, in this chapter, we are going to focus on the domain name.
Surely you’ve heard that a domain name has to be short, easy to remember, blah, blah, blah, blah.
All those things are fine, but they’re obvious. Besides, do they really matter that much to SEO? Well, it turns out not so much…
Etch in your memory: SEO is not a science. In SEO, decisions have to be made and through different paths, using experience and knowledge, we can reach the same result.
There are times when a decision is apparently not the most optimal of all but this can be compensated with many other things that will ultimately lead you to achieve the same goals.
That’s what SEO is all about and with the domain name we’re going to start checking it out.
What can I base my choice of a domain name on?
The time has come to talk to you about what I call the KEYLOBR recipe, which consists of three ingredients:
SEO – Keyword
SEO – Local
SEO – Brand
With these three ingredients, with just one of them, with the combination of two or all three, we can generate many domain names that will help us get what we are looking for.
But, first of all, ask yourself… What do you want to achieve with your website?
- Basically organic traffic by keywords?
- Make a mark?
- Position a local business?
What you want, your goal, should be reflected in your domain name.
Let’s see this with examples from the PALOMA recipe.
We include in the domain the keyword for which we want to position ourselves within a sector or niche. With this, we are already showing our users and Google what our website is all about.
In my case, I might be interested in including in a domain the keyword “SEO expert”: seoexpert.com
Domains for Local Positioning
We include a city, region, etc. in the domain name.
This makes sense if you have a local business or service in a certain geographic area, as we will be indicating to our users and Google that our activity is geolocated.
Imagine if I only provided my SEO services in London. So, including “London” in my domain would be a plus: seoexpertlondon.com
We include the name of our brand, our business, our product, our own name if it is a personal brand.
In this case, it would be freddiesoria.com. We only indicate to users and Google that the web is about us, just like that.
How to get ideas for choosing a domain name
And this is when it gets interesting. Because we can play with all three ingredients to get different domains.
Example 1: Domain with brand and keyword
Let’s take my domain: freddiesoria.com. The domain includes my name, my brand. But I’m also SEO.
So…. could I be interested in including the keyword “SEO” in my domain?
Could my domain be freddiesoriaseo.com? I could, but would it do me any good? No. No.
Because SEO is a very competitive world and the EDM (Exact Match Domain) contribute practically nothing when it comes to keywords or sectors of very high competition.
All I’d be doing is messing up my brand domain. It doesn’t make sense for the few or no benefits I’m going to get.
Example 2: Domain with a brand and long tail keyword
Let’s say now that we choose a long tail keyword, such as “SEO expert”.
The domain name could be “freddiesoriaseoexpert.com”.
This might make sense because “SEO expert” is already a keyword with a little less competition and this might help me a bit to push my domain into Google’s search results for that search.
But, at the same time, we are making the domain name longer. I don’t like it when the priority is the brand. On other websites, the target may be another as we have seen, but in this case, it is the brand.
Example 3: Domain with a brand and Local SEO
Another combination, in this case including keyword and geolocation: freddiesoriaseoexpertlondon.com.
Is this domain good? This domain would be good if I wanted to position my homepage for “SEO expert in London”. Having the keyword and geolocation in the domain name would help me.
But if that were the case, my priority would no longer be the brand, so it would no longer include Freddie Soria. The domain name would be excessively long and would be totally dirtying the brand.
That’s why it’s so important to determine which is the objective to reflect in your domain: if the priority objective were to position myself as an SEO expert in Barcelona I would directly bet on expertseobarcelona.com. But that is not the case.
The key: Prioritize your Goal
You can make many combinations to choose the domain of your website, but you must always keep your goal in mind:
- If your goal is to get traffic, let the keyword predominate
- If your goal is Local SEO, let geolocation predominate
- If your goal is to make a brand, make the brand name predominant
I insist: SEO is not a science, you have to use your own criteria and even if sometimes you don’t choose the best solution, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get the results you are looking for in other ways.
Back to the example of my domain: betting on the brand and not including a keyword in my domain has not prevented me from positioning myself as a “SEO expert” and getting traffic. I’ve made up for it with a lot of other things.
SEO Myths About Domain Names
Let’s now answer some common questions about domain names and dismantle some myths.
Does SEO affect domain length?
Short domains are easier to remember. That’s what matters. But it doesn’t matter as much as you can believe.
Here is an example of a website that has a lot of traffic, has a long domain and is not a microniche.
Is a short domain better? Well, it depends. In this case, having a longer domain name is compensated by other things: it is a website with a lot of content, with many links, etc. And in the end, with a longer domain, they are achieving their goals the same.
Does Google take into account the purchase time of the domain?
No! This is an absolute myth. Google doesn’t take into account whether you bought your domain for 10 years or 2 years. That’s a hoax that started circulating because more years indicates more seriousness of the project in Google’s eyes, but forget it. Nothing like that.
Does including a hyphen in a domain affect positioning?
From the outset, logic tells us that it is best to avoid hyphens to make it easier to remember. But it is not a determining factor either.
If you have a choice, I’d say it’s better without a script, but if you use a script it doesn’t have to affect you either because you can make up for it with a lot of other things.
Here’s an example: this website is a leader in its sector and has not one, but….two hyphens in its domain name!
Can I include a “ñ” in my domain name?
Yes, if your keyword includes a “ñ” you can include it in your domain name. Google already interprets it perfectly.
Can I position a domain with an accent?
Yeah. Just like with the “ñ”, it’s okay. I myself have perfectly positioned several domains with accents.
Do the domains still work with ultra-specific long tail words?
Yes, basically in long tail long words of sectors or niches of not very high competition.
For example, if you sell tents with flowers in Tordesillas, you will have many points to become the leader in this sector with this domain.
Can I use known brand names in a domain name?
Never use a trademark that is not yours in your domain name.
What if I want to use my keyword but the domain is taken?
If you want to use your keyword in your domain but the name is already taken, as it happens with most keywords unless they are long tail, you can use the suffixes.
For example, if your keyword is “face creams” but all domains with this keyword are taken: with.com.com.con, with.net, with dashes, without dashes, etc., nothing happens.
You can use the keyword and then add a suffix, such as “VIP”, “pro”, “blog”, a number… Whatever you can think of. And that won’t affect the little extra that the exact keyword domain can give you.
An additional tip: if you are going to use a keyword in your domain, try to get that keyword in the beginning.
If you have any questions about how to choose your website domain for the moment, I’ll be waiting for you in the comments!